Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

Veronika Zilajeva wins The Challengers’ July 2016 Open

Oklahoma Achievers

From Staff Reports • Published in the Daily Oklahoman: July 20, 2016 12:00 AM CDT

CHESS – Zilajeva wins The Challengers’ July 2016 Open – becoming the 1st resident female to win an OK USCF rated tournament!

Veronika Zilajeva, 16, a Westmoore High School sophomore, became the first female Oklahoma resident of any age to win a mixed scholastic and adult players U.S. Chess Federation-rated, top open-section chess tournament, according to a news release.

Zilajeva scored 3.5 points out of 4 and won The Challengers July 9 open chess tournament.

“You have to play with your heart, just like any other sport. And lots and lots of practice,” Zilajeva said.

Second place in the open section went to University of Oklahoma student Matt Dalthorp after he played Chickasha’s Logan Zachare in an Armageddon blitz playoff tiebreaker. Both had 3 points at the end of four rounds. Zachare placed third.

Zilajeva tied for first place last year in the girls’ national championship. She achieved her expert level rating of more than 2,000 points by scoring 3.5-point wins in the 2016 Oklahoma Open Championship in Tulsa last month.

Zilajeva said she wants to play basketball in college and hopes to become an engineer or architect.

The next Challengers chess tournament is scheduled for Nov. 19. For more information, contact Tommy W. Hay at 512-4916 or

13-year-old Advait Patel wins his 5th Challengers’ chess tournament!

Press Release
By Tommy W. Hay
The Challengers Chess Club
RE: 13-year-old Patel wins his 5th Challengers’ chess tournament

13-year-old National Chess Master, Midwest City resident, and Carl Albert High School 9th grade student, Advait Patel, won the Challengers’ March 12, 2016 Open chess tournament that was held on Saturday at the Kentucky Avenue Baptist Church with a perfect 4.0 points. This is the 5th time Patel has won a Challengers’ tournament. He won his 1st one in July of 2014; 2nd one in Sept. of 2014; 3rd one in Jan. of 2015; and his 4th one in May of 2015.
Jamal El Chamieh won 2nd Place and previous winner Alex Zapata won 3rd Place. Chamieh, Zapata, and Matt Dalthorp all had 3.0 points but the computer generated tie-break system placed Chamieh 2nd and Zapata 3rd.

Hank Vergi from Tulsa won 1st Place in the U1600 section with a perfect score of 4.0 points. New tournament player Kevin McInroe placed 2nd in the U1600 with 3.5 points, and another newcomer, Garrett Foster, an OU student from Richardson, Texas, won 3rd Place in a tie-break determination with fellow OU student Francis Irenge – both had 3.0 points.

Maxwell Xie an 8-year-old from Edmond won 1st Place in the U1200 section. Praneel D’souza won 2nd Place U1200 and Anna Boevers won 3rd Place in U1200 – both had 3.0 points but the computer generated tie-break determined that D’souza would get 2nd.
Up and coming female chess player 12-year-old Jennifer Huang won 1st Place in the U900 section with a perfect 4.0 points. Paden Little won 2nd Place U900 and Mark Clayborn, Jr. won 3rd place U900. Little, Clayborn, and Josie Little (Paden’s sister) all had 3.0 points but the computer determined that Paden was 2nd and Mark was 3rd.

Another rising female chess player, 13-year-old, Catheryne Martin from Ponca City won 1st Place in the U500 section. Sebastian Martinez and his sister Aura Martinez and Zion Wright all had 3.0 points, but the computer determined that Sebastian won 2nd Place and that Aura won 3rd Place.
The next Challengers tournament will be held at the Oklahoma University Student Union on Saturday, June 4, 2016.

Fall Tournament Dates Set

The Challengers Chess Club has set their Fall Tournament Schedule. You can find each of the events on these links:


NOVEMBER 2015 Open

NGIT 2015 National Scholastic Tournaments

Barber, Denker, NGIT 2015 National Scholastic Tournaments

IMG-20150804-WA0019 Joshua, Veronica, Adviat at awards presentation

Oklahoma student chess players excelled in Phoenix at the 2015 Barber, Denker, NGIT Scholastic National Tournaments as 12-year-old Advait Patel achieved historical back to back championship wins in the 2015 Barber K-8 Championship.

Oklahoma’s youngest chess champion 12-year-old Advait Patel has added to his growing chess legacy again! Patel scored 5.5 points (5-wins & 1-draw) to a clear cut victory at the 2015 Barber Invitational K-8 Chess Tournament of state Champions that was held in Phoenix, Arizona this past weekend from August 1st thru August 4th .

Advait is now the first Oklahoma student ever to win the Barber K-8 and is the first player nationally to win more than one Barber K-8 tournament with back to back wins. Patel won last year’s 2014 Barber K-8 that was held in Orlando, Florida.

Home-schooled 15-year-old 10th grade student Joshua Alexander from Jones, OK, scored a total of 3points (3-wins & 3-losses) against a tough field in the 2015 Denker tournament. Joshua said his hobbies also include “playing hockey, playing online games,” and of course “online chess” too.

Westmoore High School 15-year-old 10th grade student Veronika Zilajeva scored 5 points (4-wins & 2-draws) in a 4-way tie for 1st and ultimately took 3rd Place in the 2015 National Girls Invitational Tournament ( NGIT) after the tiebreak system weighed in. Interestingly Veronika aspires to become “a meteorologist” one day.

The Barber K-8 grades, the Denker (9th thru12 grades), and the NGIT all three are national invitational scholastic level tournaments that only invite the best of the best in each state. All three tournaments were held simultaneously this past weekend in Phoenix, AZ.

Advait will be turning 13 on August 31st and will be attending Carl Albert High School as a 9th grade freshman. Advait aspires to “be a professional chess player,” and he enjoys “playing cricket and swimming.”

When he is in town and not traveling to or from a chess tournament you can often catch him playing chess on Friday nights at Kamps 1910 Café with the other Challengers chess club members.

The Challengers May Open 2015 – Results

By Tommy W Hay
The Challengers Chess Club
RE: The Challengers May chess tourney OPEN results.

Chess prodigy Advait Patel wins again!

The Challengers Chess Club held a chess tournament this past weekend, Sat., May 16, at the Regency Park Baptist Church located in Moore, OK. The tournament was 4-Rounds, with a G45|d5 time increment, and a very large total of 7-sections; Open, U2000, U1800, U1600, U1300, U1000 and U500. A total of 54 players enrolled to play in spite of the possible stormy weather that was forecast. The weather did not play a factor as far as the tournament results were concerned, but did create the need to bypass the usual structured award ceremony at the end of the day.

Once again Oklahoma’s chess prodigy and The Challengers Chess Club member 12-year-old Midwest City student and current Oklahoma State Chess Champion Advait Patel went 4.0 winning all four of his rounds to win the Open Section highest level championship outright. Chuck Johnson had 3.0 points with three wins to win 2nd Place in the Open Section and OU college student John “Alex” Zapata with 2.0 points took 3rd Place honors due to that fact that Shaun Graham-Bowcaster at 2.5 points withdrew early from the tournament. Rules state no one who withdraws is eligible for prizes. Patel has won all four Challengers tournaments that he has entered and played in.

Results in the remaining following six sections were:

The U2000 Section was won by Julien Miller with 2.0 points or two wins followed closely by West Moore student Veronika Zilajeva with 2.0 points and two wins as well. In the case of a tie the winner is determined by a cumulative tie-break system built into the computer program. Herbert Stonehocker IV came in 3rd Place in the U2000 Section with 1.0 points.

The U1800 Section was won by Norman Styers with 3.0 points. 2nd Place went to Edward Dihrberg with 2.5 points, and 3r Place went to Challengers Chess Club newcomer from the Chickasha area Logan Zachare with 1.5 points. Dr. Matt Miller also had 1.5 points but withdrew early from the tournament.

The U1600 Section was won by Easton Nibs with a perfect 4.0 points by winning all four of his rounds. 2nd Place went to Tulsa youngster Krish Kumar with 3.0 points and 3rd Place went to The Challengers Chess Club President and Founder Roger Baxter with 2.5 points.

The U1300 Section was won interestingly enough by all elementary school students – which is really no surprise to those following OKC youth chess. 1st Place went to Loucas J. Miller with 3.0 points. 2nd Place went to Jim Huang with 3.0 points and 3rd Place went to Maxwell Barnes with 3.0 points. Once again the tie-breaks winners are determined by the computer cumulative tie-break system using strength of play as a factor.

The U1000 Section was won by the younger Miller brother, Achilles Miller, with 3.0 points. Jennifer Huang took 2nd Place with 3.0 points and Case Pirrong won 3rd Place with 2.5 points. The tie-break system agained determined the winner between Achilles and Jennifer.

The Challengers would like to give a special thanks to Regency Park Baptist Church for providing an excellent venue and good food and a thanks to the Lord for protecting all the chess players from the incoming storm.

The next Challengers tournament is tentatively scheduled for July, 2015,

Contact: TW Hay, The Challengers Chess Club –OKC for more info at or 405-512-4916.

The Challengers 1st Annual ASTEC OPEN – Results

By Tommy W. Hay

The Challengers Chess Club 1st ASTEC Annual OPEN was held on Saturday, March 21st at the ASTEC Charter School in northwest Oklahoma City. ASTEC teacher and chess club coach Steve Reid coordinated with The Challengers chess club to make this a successful event.

There were 4 Sections played, Section 1- OPEN, Section 2 – U-1500, Section 3-U-1000 and Section 4-U500.

The winner of the upper level OPEN section was Shaun Graham-Bowcaster . Bowcaster beat out previous May 2014 Challenger winner Joe Veal. Bowcaster and Veal both had 3.5 points each, but because of the computer generated tie-break point system Bowcaster won 1st Place and Veal came in 2nd Place in the highest level of play OPEN section. Tulsa youngster Yash Kumar won 3rd Place over 4th Place winner Jan Murcek. Both Kumar and Murcek had 3.0 points each but Kumar like Bowcaster won by the tie-break system.

The winners of the U-1500 section were as follows: 1st Place, Krish Kumar; 2nd Place, John “Jake” Williams; 3rd Place, Layton Smith; and 4th Place went to Joshua Freeman.

The winners of the U-1000 section were as follows: 1st Place, Anna Boevers; 2nd Place, Maxwell Barnes; 3rd Place, Noah Reid; and 4th Place went to Casse Pirrong.

The winners of the U-500 section were as follows: 1st Place, William Black; 2nd Place, Mark Clayborne; 3rd Place, Nestor Bravo; and 4th Place, Alex Lindgens.

The Challengers next tournament is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015, at the Regency Park Baptist Church in Moore. Contact Tommy Hay at 405-512-4916 or email him at for more info.

The Challengers May 2015 Open

The Challengers May 2015 Open

2001 North Janeway Avenue
Moore, OK 73160
$300.00 Based on 40

7 Sections: OPEN , U2000, U1800, U1600, U1300, U1000(CXR Rated Only) , U500(CXR Rated Only)

Type: 4 Rounds Swiss System, G/45; d5

Note: U1000 & U500 NOT USCF Rated – CXR Rated Only


Prizes: 100.00 Based on 40 players. $100.00 Trophies 1st,2nd,3rd places

Format: 4 Round Swiss System, G/45;d5
Affects both Quick and Regular rating. Round Times: Round Times: 09:30, 12:00, 2:00, 4:00

Byes: One 1/2 point Bye available in Round 1-3

Entry Fees: $20.00   (Cash Only Preferred )
USCF Membership required in top five sections and available to purchase onsite (U1000&U500 sections CXR rated only no USCF membership required.)

Entries To: Checks payable to “Tommy W. Hay,” 4000 SW 28th St., OKC, OK 73108 Telephone: 405-512-4916 Please reference your USCF ID or CXR ID on your check.

On-site Reg: 05/16/2015 8:00am – 9:00am

View Event

Challengers Chess Club 3-peat winner is Advait Patel

Press Release
The Challengers Chess Club – OKC
By Tommy W. Hay

Challengers Chess Club 3-peat winner is Advait Patel

Twelve-year-old chess prodigy Advait Patel wins back-to-back-to-back Challengers’ chess tournaments as he won The Challengers January 2015 Chess OPEN. Patel won 3 out of 4 rounds in the OPEN Section for a superior overall total of 3.5 points – he was played to a draw in round 3 against expert player Anthony Paolercio, in a draw each player receives ½ point each. Michael Nugent and Joe Dean Veal came in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the OPEN section. Women’s Candidate Master,17-year-old Claudia Munoz finished with a very respectable 2.5 points and said she plans to come to OKC to play again.
Andrew Parada came in 1st Place in the U-1500 section, followed by Easton Nibs who took 2nd Place U-1500 and Challengers club President Roger Baxter placed 3rd U-1500.
Young lady London Black-Hernandez came in 1st Place in the U-1000/Unrated section followed by another young lady Anna Boevers for 2nd Place and teenager Joseph Martin placed 3rd. The next Challengers tournament is scheduled to be played at the ASTEC Charter school on March 21, 2015. Contact Tommy W. Hay at 405-512-4916 or email him at for more chess club information.

The Challengers September Open – 2014

The Challengers Chess Club’s September 2014 OPEN


The Challengers Chess Club

Press Release by Tommy Hay

RE: 12-year-old Advait Patel is a back to back winner of The Challengers OPEN.

Chess prodigy twelve-year-old student Advait Patel wins back to back Challenger Opens. Patel won The Challenger July 2014 OKC OPEN , and he won again this past Saturday at The Challenger September 2014 OKC OPEN. In a closely contested match in the final round Patel beat Joe Dean Veal, the winner of The Challenger May 2014 OKC OPEN. Veal had only seconds left on his clock which caused Veal to move too hastily and eventually played a big factor in losing to Patel. Patel was the only player to win all four rounds of the tournament with a total of 4.0 points.

Alex Zapata, winner of the first Challengers’ chess tournament, The Challengers Spring 2014 OKC OPEN that was held back on March 22, 2014, came in second place with 3.5 points. Joe Dean Veal came in third place with 3.0 points and Chuck Johnson came in fourth place with 3.0 points. The computer tie-break system game Veal the lead over Johnson.

Maxwell “Max” Barnes won the U-1000/Unrated section by winning three out of four matches and getting a draw one on the four matches ending with 3.5 points. Barnes is a part of the Wise Wolves chess club of Wilson Elementary School and he is being trained by championship player Joe Dean Veal.

Loucas Miller and Kaylee Gandhi came in second and third respectively with 3.5 points in the U-1000/Unrated section and Bridge Creek teacher and softball coach Kenneth “Ray” Chidester came in fourth place in the U-1000/Unrated section with 3.5 points too. Even though all 3 players had 3.5 points the computer computes the tie-breaks according to strength of play and wins. Miller is the son of Cleveland Elementary School’s chess coach Dr. Matthew S. Miller. Gandhi is a member of the Ida Freeman Elementary school’s national championship chess team.

The tournament, which was held at Kamp’s 1910 Café, was deemed an overwhelming success with barely enough room to accommodate all the chess players who showed up. There were 15 pairings in the OPEN section and 14 pairings in the U-1000 section which meant a total of 29 pairings and a total of 58 players overall – the largest quantity of players so far at any Challenger tournament to date. The next Challenger tournament is tentatively planned for early next year and will be announced when a date is determined. You may contact The Challengers Chess Club through Tommy Hay at 405-512-4916 or email him at , or through Challengers’ President, Roger Baxter, at 405-706-6655.


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